ThyCa News

Friend of ThyCa Shares Inspirational Stones for Pediatric Backpack Project


Doug Foster of Ashland, Oregon, has made and donated pendants and “lucky stones,” mostly from agate, jasper, and petrified wood, to give to children and teens with thyroid cancer, as well as their parents, as part of ThyCa’s free Pediatric Backpack Project. Previously, Doug gave stones and pendants to all the attendees at the 18th International Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference. 

Doug first became interested in rocks when a big flood dumped tons of rocks on his and his wife’s hay pasture, including chunks of jasper and petrified wood. This flood, in early 1997, came a few months after he completed chemo for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. 

Because of complications from the chemo, he was still staying close to home then, so rock hunting in the pasture offered reliable stay-at-home fun." 

When he took a big chunk of petrified wood to be cut at the local rock club, and saw how different it was on the inside than the outside, he was hooked. And when he learned to identify the genus (type) of petrified wood using a 20X lens, he swallowed hook, line, and sinker. 

For the last 10 years he has served as Curator of Fossil Wood for a natural history museum in southern Oregon. 

Several years ago Doug started giving lucky stones to war veterans, because the Veterans Administration ruled that his cancer was caused by Agent Orange exposure when he flew helicopters for the Army in Vietnam. 

About the same time, he started giving lucky stones to friends of friends who were diagnosed with cancer. His sister-in-law, Cherry Wunderlich, a longtime volunteer for ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, inspired him to take on this project for thyroid cancer survivors. 

Thank you, Doug.


Doug Foster stands by his three biggest rock saws, which have big tanks holding cooling oil so the diamond disk blades don’t overheat. Industrial diamonds are necessary because jasper, agate, and petrified wood are harder than steel.

Doug digging for petrified wood. He unearthed all the exposed rocks with a pick and shovel.



A pendant and a “lucky stone” from Doug.